Tag Archives: castles

Alien Life Forms

As aliens, unless we’re married to Japanese or have a permanent visa, life in Japan means getting, changing or renewing our visas from time to time. As the form-filling-out requirements aren’t necessarily consistent, and they unfortunately can’t tell you on the spot whether you need to submit more documents, the process may involve multiple trips to the Nagoya Regional Immigration Bureau (mailing is sometimes an option, but you risk missing strict deadlines if something gets held up in transit; Better safe than sorry).

Also, as the Ministry of Justice has done away with the alien registration card system, everyone will have to pick up a new resident card at the Bureau office to replace the temporary paper issued last year by your local city hall. And don’t forget to get a re-entry permit there before you leave Japan to travel – without one, your visa expires as soon as you leave. When you come back, you’ll just be a tourist on a three month permit with no right to work or study.* Anyway, it pays to know the way to the Bureau.


From Tajimi or Toki, take the Chuo Line to Nagoya Station. Exiting through the central wickets, there’s no option, as far as I know, but to walk all the way to the west exit of the station, and then, staying inside the station, walk southward as far as you can until you get to the Aonami Line entrance toward the left.

Buy a separate ticket for ¥260 to Nagoya Keibajomae Station. Trains run about every 15 minutes. There are signs leading you to the immigration center from Keibajomae Station.

When you enter the building, there’s a general help center on the first floor to make sure your papers are in order. The main offices are on the second floor. Take a number (most likely on the right) and wait.


On a recent trip there, I stopped at the Nagoya Station Towers, noticing that the haze made Nagoya Castle stand out (normally from there, I think it’s hard to pick out immediately). Other people took note, as well.

*Update: One benefit of the new system: In most cases, foreign residents won’t have to get re-entry permits anymore. You will have to notify Immigration any time between visa renewals (extensions) that you move or change jobs, which is different from before.

Lotus Position


A drive yesterday through Ena took me to the site of a castle ruins between Yamaoka and Iwamura. Once Iibama Castle, the area is now for residential and agricultural use. Below, a pad has grown right through this walkway built in a lotus field. These will eventually grow into lotus root, or renkon, for eating. I guess lotuses are pretty rare, so this was a lucky sighting. Something about this location makes them thrive here. Sounds ripe for a castle-based legend. More lotus photos (sorry, no cars or cafes) follow below.


During the ride, I took in lots of flora and fauna: Bank after roadside bank of hydrangea that must have been magnificent a month ago; Soybeans; Corn, including one field that could pass for an American cornfield in size…


Dragonflies; Pointy-hatted rice farmers; Copious verdant overgrowth; Many, many weed-whacker-wielding workers sweating it out to trim aprons of grass under the hot sun.


At the foot of the castle ruins beside the marshy lotus patch is a fresh vegetable roadside stand. Nearby is another stand I’ve bought things at before, but things seem to be gone by late afternoon at these places.


Behind a small mill, vegetation was being burned. Ceramic sculptures also dotted the pads and blossoms. The lotuses themselves were all either just before or past full bloom, or else far from the boardwalk.


…And where the lonely princess’s teardrops fell from the castle heights to the nearly dried up moat below in that year of no rainy season, lovely lotus flowers now bloom, first in the shape of a teardrop, and then with welcoming, embracing arms, in the very same color as her treasured sacrificed kimono, a memento of her love for her fallen prince, who now resides as a star watching over her in the summer sky, ensuring clouds of rain to sustain us all with a healthy harvest throughout the year…*

*Reasonable rates available at rentalegend.com. Be sure to specify ethnic bent of your choice. Special fees may apply.